Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Congresswoman visits RHC

Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, of the 38th Congressional District, paid a visit to Rio Hondo on Wednesday, Oct. 8, in S220 at 5:20 p.m. to discuss law to members of the Pathway to Law Program which was established three weeks ago on campus. Sanchez, who covers the Southeastern Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley which includes 15 different cities, was introduced by The Pathway to Law Program coordinator Vicenta Arrizon Maffris.

In the meeting, which lasted about 30 minutes, Sanchez talked to Pre-Law Society students about her education, her background and the challenges she faces as a young Latina woman in congress.

“There’s a saying in Washington DC that goes, if you don’t have a seat at the table, chances are you are on the menu.”

Sanchez, who spends 2/3 of her time in Washington DC and 1/3 of her time in California, informed her audience that females take up 19 percent of elected representatives at federal level.

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That’s a number she hopes will change considering there are 435 members in the House of Representatives and 100 in the Senate.

She continued by saying that in 2025 it is estimated that about one in four Americans will have Hispanic heritage in their background.

With those numbers rising, she hopes more Hispanics will be elected to serve in congress considering the percentage of Hispanic elected representatives at a federal level is five.

Sanchez continued her speech by saying that it is hard to get stuff done when members are not “inclusive” and don’t care what happens to the community.

Besides helping in legislation, Sanchez said she does casework, which involves working one on one with individuals regarding any issues they have involving federal agencies like the IRS, VA, Social Security and Immigration.

While admitting that she never saw herself serving in office, Sanchez said she liked the idea of impacting people and serving them, calling herself a Public Servant and not a Politician since the name has been tainted by politicians who practice greed, corruption and only serve themselves.

Sanchez, who studied Law at UCLA in 1995, said that having a legal background helped her do things more effectively. “There is a difference in ‘may’ or ‘shall.’ Those two words can impact how many people the bill will apply, or who it will go to.”

She also advised anyone interested in law school to do it for the right reasons. “You shouldn’t have that degree to go into something else. You should get it if you’re interested in practicing law.”

While admitting that it took her 20 years to pay for her law school debt, she encouraged anyone pursuing the idea to think wisely.

She also said that not everyone in congress has a law degree saying some are doctors, lawyer, farmers and teachers; what she originally had in mind.

After her 25-minute speech she had time for some questions and was asked by a student if she was nervous of the mid-term elections coming up on November to which she replied, “Less people show up when it’s a mid-term election. Hispanic voters are not voting.”

She continued by saying that although her parents were both working class Mexican Immigrants, they encouraged their children to vote and make a difference.

Before ending the Q & A, Sanchez said that she is currently working on raising anti-bullying standards and cyber bullying to make schools safer for everyone.

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